From left to right, Livia Grujich, Co-founder, Managing Director and Tanya Dodaro, Co-founder, Director of Business Development, On Q Communications Inc.
It’s International Women’s Day and here at On Q, we are celebrating the most influential women in our lives, our co-founders Tanya Dodaro and Livia Grujich. We sat down with these dynamic womenpreneurs to find out how they managed to build a thriving PR empire while balancing the job of being moms and powerful business women.
What motivates you?
Livia: Seeing that my actions yield results. It reinforces the message that you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it. Thirteen years ago when I decided to leave an awesome job with a great company to start my own business at a very young age, I knew the worst thing that could happen was failure. That didn’t scare me. What scared me was never trying. Now, here we are 13 years and a very successful business later. I am pushing forward and loving every second of it. It takes a lot of work, dedication and perseverance to meet goals. Seeing them come to light motivates me.
Tanya: Being in a fast-paced, ever-changing and creative environment motivates me like nothing else. It’s why I started On Q. Early in my career, I worked for several prominent corporations. However, I found myself stifled by the constant layers of red tape that often made exploring big ideas and managing extravagant campaigns difficult. I quickly realized I needed an environment that would allow me to be face to face with clients so we could make campaigns happen within the hour if need be. It’s crazy, hectic even, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?
Tanya: I faced the biggest challenge in my career when trying to figure out how to manage both a demanding business and a growing family. Finding that perfect balance was more difficult than I had imagined. My business was my first baby and it was difficult stepping back from it. However, when I had my first daughter, I quickly realized she needed much of my attention and I became divided, as I’m sure all working moms can understand. It wasn’t easy, but through trial and error I realized the key was to be present in the moment and giving that moment my all, whether it was while I was in a new business pitch or cuddling with my little one. It has taught me to always fully immerse myself into what I am doing, allowing me to enjoy both business and pleasure.
Luckily, Livia and I took turns having children so we were able to pass the reigns along to each other, knowing full well that the On Q baby would be in secure and loving hands. I was able to have a wonderful year of maternity leave with both of my daughters, while having a thriving business to come back to. Eight years and five kids later between the two of us, we are still going strong.
How do you find time to run a business and make time for your family?
Livia: I see one’s career path as a marathon, not a sprint. Looking at it this way allows me to reflect on the fact that at different points of a marathon, one puts forth different amounts of energy in order to accomplish the overall goal of winning the race.
I’m fortunate to be running this marathon with an exceptional business partner. When we started On Q together 13 years ago, it was our first baby. We both ran harder and faster than anyone out there. Throughout the years that followed, life blessed both of us with beautiful children. Having our own business allowed us the flexibility to be there for our family, knowing that our business partner would still run fast and push forward and do what’s best for our growing company. A business is only as good as the people who are a part of it. We have a dedicated team that excels in their work and strives to make our clients happy every day.
Tanya: I wouldn’t be able to do it without my amazing partner Livia. We are a team and we give each other the support we need to balance work and our personal lives. We live and breathe this business together. We are partners and we are friends. It is our closeness and the synchronicity of our goals that allows us to work together seamlessly. It’s not always easy maintaining the balance, but we know each other so well and share the same passion for both the business and our families that we always make it work.
Who is one woman you find inspiring?
Livia: I’m choosing to write about an inspiring woman in my life, my business partner and sister in law, Tanya Dodaro. She takes any situation in life by the horns and makes the most of it. She really lives by the motto ‘make it matter’ and she truly does ‘make it ALL matter’. She’s built a life for herself where she can fully enjoy her family and her work.
Her positive attitude is what inspires me most. No matter what life throws at her, she undoubtedly deals with it and always deals with it well. She chooses to celebrate the big (and small) accomplishments in life. And boy does she know how to party! Isn’t that what life’s all about after all? Between work and personal life, I’m fortunate to spend quite a bit of time with this lovely woman and I can truly say she is one inspiring lady!
What does Women’s Day mean to you?
Livia: Women’s Day to me is about empowering the women of tomorrow. I didn’t grow up with a ‘rah-rah’ women can do it all attitude. But having twin daughters as my first born(s) is making me want to showcase a rah-rah attitude more and more. To show them that women can and should dream big, work hard and reach for the stars. Through the life I chose to live, I want my daughters to see that women can choose to have a good education, a fulfilling career AND a family. I want them to have the confidence and knowledge that with hard work, they can achieve anything they set their mind to. As tall, proud, brave and strong four year olds, I hope they will always see the world as their oyster.
Tanya: Women’s Day means celebrating all that we are and all that we can become. It is a day where we take stock of how far we have come and revel in the amazing dreams and possibilities of a future we will surely meet. To me, Women’s Day is a reminder great things happen when we unite and work together to empower each other.